TUESDAY, AUGUST 29,196'
THE MICHIGAN DAIL'Y'
TUESDAY, AUGUST 29, 1967 THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Roundballers Hope To Erase Recent Past
By HOWARD KOHN
Sometime toward the end of last
season, coach Dave Strack sighed,
"This is a five-man operation and
we've been trying to run on three
And Michigan's basketball team,
losing its last eight Big Ten games
in a row, coughed and belched and
wheezed its way to a 2-12 record
and last place.
Parnelli Jones and his six-buck
gearbox should complain. Strack
and his three-cylinder team never
got off the starting line.
key expected back, Michigan's
basketbal team will have its
Strack's "startling"' sophomores
of last year will now be juniors
and will have their chance to re-
coup the exhilerating headlines
they received during their fresh-
Forwards Dave McClellan, Den-
nis Stewart and Bob Sullivan and
guard Ken Maxey-who struggled
through large part of the work-
load last year-are the junior
In addition, senior Jim Pitts and
a talented trio of sophomores will
be on hand.
At least, Strack hopes Pitts will
be. The 6' 3" rangy guard, who
wears rubberbands on his wrists
and became one of Michigan's top
rebounders, has been reclassified
1-A and may spend the season in
a warmer clime.
Pitts, as the only senior on the
team, would have been an obvious
choice for captain; but his offi-
cial appointment won't take place
until his military situation is
Pitts had his problems last sea-
son, too, missing one game because
of a suspension and another be-
cause he was late for the bus.
Sullivan also sat out a game
due to a disciplinary suspension;
and Stewart missed one because
:f an academic hang-up .-
... and it was that kind of sea-
The Wolverines opened their Big
Ten schedule with three consecu-
tive losses, after a. mediocre 6-4
pre-season record, before upsetting season. Former Wolverine basket-
the other eventual co-champion ball star George Pomey filled in as
and cross-state rival Michigan assistant coach and assistant base-
\tate ball coach Dick Honig subbed as
The word was, after the im- Freshmen basketball coach last
pressive 68-59 shocker, that "the: year.
boys had gained poise' and the Pomey will handle the freshmen
"team had jelled" and other col- this year.
loquialisms. Featured in "Honigs Heroes"
Michigan split the next two, was 6' 7,' 195-pound Rudy Tom-
losing at Iowa but rebounding to janovich. A high school All-Amer-
nick Purdue, and then inexperi- ican, Tomjanovich is a slick and
ence caught up. aggressive board man and a deft
Defense Minister Dayan would outside shot.
have had trouble pulling Michigan Among the sophs, he has the
out of its tailspin. It was the first most promising chance at a start-
time in six years that the Wolver- ing position.
ines had finished last. Except for 6' 10" - 200-pound
Last (in Theory) Mike Lawson-built in the tradi-
It was also (theoretically at tion of Craig Dill-Tomjanovich is
least) the last time the Wolverines the tallest man on the team.
were to play in Yost Field House- For the most part, he played
home of Michigan basketball and forward while Lawson played the
State St. pigeons. pivot on the freshmen team; but
Michigan's strike-stymied Uni- Strack may use Tomjanovich as
versity All-Events Building is the high post man in a 1-3-1
scheduled to house the cagers this alignment a la Adolph Rupp and
fall . . . unless, of course, some- Kentucky.
thing drastic like a falling beam Fighting for the other front
delays progress. court positions will be Stewart,
(Editor's note: In the fall of Sullivan and McClellan-and pos-
1966, a supporting beam at the sibly Willie Edwards.
University All-Events Building col- The 6' 6" Stewart and 6'4" Sul-
lapsed, delaying progress.) livan were Stracks original start-
Putting a foundation under ers; but 6' 6" McClellan won a
Michigan's basketball dreams may starting berth early in the Big
be just as difficult. Ten season and finished as one
"I'm always optimistic. These of the team's top scorers and re-
boys put in a lot of hard work bounders.
last year. But let's wait and see," Experience Benefits
opines Strack. Stewart, who clicked consist-
Strack will have a new assistant ently with a fadeaway jumper but
in former Massachusetts head who passed and rebounded erra-
coach John rrr. tically, should "benefit greatly"
Orr replaces Jim Skala who re- from a year of experience says
signed before the beginning of last Strack.
Sullivan has the ballhandling
finese of a guard but had repeated
problems at working in close shots
or pitching in outside ones.
McClellan was the most stable
of the three, both on offense and
defense, but didn't show the flashy
potential of Stewart and Sullivan.
Fighting- for backcourt jobs,
along with Pitts (?), will be
Maxey and sophomores Rick
Bloodworth and Steve Fishman.
Maxey at 5' 9" is the smallest man
on the team and probably the
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The state of things returned to
what it had been before Strack
and Cazzie Russel had driven the
Wolverines to three consecutive
There was little spark and no
It was a rebuilding year, of
course, after the graduation of all
five starters, and no one expected
Unexpectedly, every one got ex-
actly what they expected.
There were good moments: e.g.,
when Michigan charged from be-
hind to come within .one point of
eventual co-champion Indiana
with 10 seconds left and faked
the Hoosiers into giving away the
There were bad moments: when
Craig Dill lost the inbounds pass,
Indiana's Butch Joyner recovered
it and Michigan lost Py three
There were other, less memora-
ble moments. But when the sea-
son ended, in an ignomious loss to
Iowa, Strack slumped in the locker
room and said, "I just wish that
I could wipe some things that I
don't like right off the record
This year, with every one except
co-captains Dill and Dennis Ban-
His defensive forte is a stop-
and-start foot pattern and a flair
for the unexepected. His strategy
usually results in a high number
of stolen passes and a high num-
ber of fouls.
Although he's naturally aggres-
rive on offense, too; his shooting
percentage was one of the lowest
on the team. Maxey alternated
with Bankey last season.
Fishman is 5' 10" and plays the
.same brand of crackei'jack ball.
Fishman took the starting fresh-
man jo baway from Mark Henry
Bloodworth, 6' 3" and the other
fresman starting guard, is a strong
outside shot and an awake ball-
Strack, who couldn't stop the
meteoric fall from first to last,
is the man who must try to put
the Michigan basketball star back
in the sky.
He is, an experienced handler of
players and problems.
He has had a summer to think
about mechanical problems like
sparkplug misfirings. He's had a
summer to think about putting the
team back in running condition.
But it takes more than a me-
chanic or a driver to run a team.
It takes a six-buck gearbox called
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